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Packing cubes

I've never used packing cubes before, but I decided to finally give them a try. I went through my packing list and decided how I thought I might group all the stuff I travel with to get an idea which cubes to buy. I went with this set from ebags and they arrived today.
https://www.ebags.com/product/ebags/ultralight-packing-cubes-super-packer-5pc-set/309406?productid=10408194&cat=packing-aids&country=US&currency=USD&ebcpkey=keywords&couponid=94790994&sourceid=ADWPRODEBAGS&adtype=pla&gclid=Cj0KCQjwocPnBRDFARIsAJJcf94NHlM_OLF9iRtGyBu7O8SFBCpMflLoGkORQyIgxXL21CCvIFY1sEQaAgjIEALw_wcB

They seem well made with good quality zippers. after removing tags, labels, etc. I weighed the entire set at 9.3 oz. I'm going to pack them as planned, put them in my bag and see how it goes. If it looks worthwhile I'll see if my wife wants to try a set too. I know lots of people use and love packing cubes. I've just never really been motivated to give them a try. We've got trips planned this summer and fall so we'll see how it goes.

Posted by
4471 posts

The first time you unpack in a hotel room and just take out the packing cubes and put them in the drawers, you will fall in love with them.

Posted by
23465 posts

Except I can do the same with zip lock bags at a tenth of the cost and even lighter. And I can write on them as to content.

Posted by
2713 posts

I’m a recent convert. For underwear and socks sure a zip lock would work. For polyester T shirts which I wear a lot in Europe (Under Armour and the like) I like a packing cube. Things stay neat, organized, not wrinkled. So, just back from 3 weeks in Italy with a small cube for socks and underwear, larger one for folded pullover shirts, and I fold the rest of my clothes per this video https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=PDn9l20NlWw. Sort of a hybrid approach but it worked very well. Made packing and unpacking very fast.

Posted by
2765 posts

Ziploc’s sound like a good idea but there are a couple of problems. One they slide around like nobody’s business, and two after about the third stop you discover they don’t actually luck anymore. I gave up and went to compression packing cubes

Posted by
4927 posts

I put zip lock bags in everything: zipper bags, zipper compartments, and yes, in packing cubes so the zip locks don't slip around in the suitcase. I even put tiny zip lock bags in bigger zip lock bags!

Posted by
1878 posts

Packing cubes are especially great for underwear and socks. One medium and one small holds enough of both of those plus several shirts when I pack.

Posted by
541 posts

I like Eagle Creek's Pack-It Specter compression cubes

My standard is:
1 Med garment folder- button down shirts and pants
Med packing cube- for t-shirts, mid-layer top
Sm cube - underwear/socks
empty Med packing cube for dirty clothes during trip. Dryer sheet in a zip-loc pulled-out halfway mark as luggage starts to smell.

Jackets and sweaters I won't pack but, shove them into the nooks and crannies
Shoes get filled with socks and small purchases

Posted by
84 posts

We are 3rd year converts. By sorting only like garments together you can grab that one thing that you want without having to rummage through all of the cubes (or the entire suitcase). I prefer to roll everything except pants or shorts, so that at a glance I can touch the exact item that I want. Hubby flat folds all. Have your wife do a practice pack with yours using the roll or Kondo fold. I’ll bet that she quickly obtains her own.

Posted by
3995 posts

I love cubes, won’t travel without them anymore. I have recommended them to so many people I lost count. I gave a woman I work with a quick tutorial and loaned her some of mine for a trip this past February. Upon her return she told me because of the cubes she was able to stay organized and even took a smaller sized suitcase. What didn’t fit in the cube, didn’t go. Another colleague at work used them, color coordinated for her hubby and 3 children on a trip to Machu Pichu last summer. She told me they saved her aggravation and her sanity during the trip. My daughter color coordinates hers too, for her, husband and two children. I also use the garment folder for my husband’s button down shirts. Keeps them wrinkle free and easy to get at.

Posted by
2909 posts

I’ve used the RS packing cubes on a couple domestic trips and recently to Italy. I’m a believer since I like the organization. Small cube for underwear/socks, small cube for leggings (I don’t wear capris and jeans are too bulky), large cube for tops, shirts and dresses. I found that folding clothes instead of rolling fits in the cubes better and keeps down the wrinkles. For dirty clothes I used a lightweight nylon drawstring pack bag.

Posted by
7447 posts

Once you use them, you will really like them! I’ve been using a set of the mesh RS packing cubes for several years. Everything is organized and easy to retrieve. I place my dresses, slip, shirts, capri and scarves in the large one. I have my underwear and light nightgown in the smaller one.

I’ve mentioned this previously in the forum, but when I was chosen two times last year for an extra baggage search at the plane gate, both times the inspectors didn’t make a huge pile mess of my clothes like other unfortunate travelers I saw. They could see what was in my cubes and let me go.

Posted by
101 posts

We pack pretty light. For the RS GAS tour in September I expect my bag to weigh no more than 20 lbs or so. The cube set I purchased has 2 large cubes, 1 medium and 2 small. I will probably use 1 large for shirts and pants, the other large for layering clothes, e.g. rain jacket, insulated jacket, long johns, the medium for socks and undergarments, one of the small ones for charging cords, adapter, and misc. small stuff like that. I'm not sure I'll need the last small one. I'm going to test pack everything prior to another shorter domestic US trip we've got planned later this month. Thanks for all the feedback! I look forward to seeing how the cubes work out.

Posted by
2909 posts

Brian, an additional suggestion is to add the RS classic hanging toiletries bag. Many of the hotels have little counter space and the bag will hang anywhere. I did keep all the gooey things in my 311 bag in case the containers spilled, leaked or broke (and one did). https://store.ricksteves.com/shop/p/classic-toiletry-kit
You’ll definitely want to do a couple test packs before you leave. Although I’ve done carry-on a couple times domestically, I missed having my hubby’s bag for the overflow. On my own it was a bit of a challenge. I made it to Italy with carry on only but coming home, I extended and checked my RS Rolling Carryon. By then it was only dirty clothes in the suitcase and all gifts and souvenirs were in my carryon totes.

Posted by
101 posts

Thanks, I've already got a hanging toiletry bag. Not RS branded but I'm happy with it. I also bring along a short length of very light cord and a small suction cup in case I need to hang it somewhere the hook doesn't fit around. I'm not new to traveling or Europe; just new to packing cubes. :)

Posted by
310 posts

Have any of you used compression bags for a suit? I assume it would need a good press afterwards, but wondering what others have experienced. Thanks.

Posted by
59 posts

Hey everyone!

Brian, I love packing cubes and have been using them for about 8 years now. I used a folder and cubes for our trip to Great Britain it they all worked well.

Does any one have suggestions for sizes of cubes and how to arrange them for a RS rolling Carry on? I would like to buy a new set(s) of the lighter compression type cubes. Mine are all the older Eagle Creek ones and likely weigh much more than the newer sets. They also do not compress at all.

I agree with using Ziplocs. The closures do not hold up, but I DO pack the 1 and 2 gallon bags for wrapping wet swimsuits, laundry or to protect clothes from liquids if needed they are handy for all kinds of things.

Nancy

Posted by
2909 posts

Nancy, the RS packing cube set fit in the RS Rolling Carryon. I’ve also mixed those with other brands. Either way I use two small cubes on the bottom because those clothes are less likely to wrinkle. Large cube with shirts, dresses is on top. Shoes are wrapped in a shower cap are on the wheel end of the suitcase. Sweater, shawl fill in the space on top of the shoes. Toiletry and 311 bags fit on the handle side of the bag. Hope that helps. I sure you’re a much more experienced packer/traveler than I am.

Posted by
101 posts

Nancy, the set I linked to in my OP is sized to fit in a standard size carry-on. They don’t compress though. I’m sure my stuff won’t fill them completely so I didn’t really look for compression. My travel pack has compression straps both inside and outside that I can use to squeeze the whole thing if necessary.

Posted by
59 posts

Thanks for the replies horsewoofie and Brian. I think I am going to try the new compression cubes, Love the handle Horsewoofie…. very unique!

I am not experienced at all in the packing light concept. I swore though after hauling large suitcases post cruise in Venice I would never do THAT again. So I am going one carryon for this tour as my first! I have used packing cubes and folders in the past, so how you pack what where was helpful!

Posted by
101 posts

Nancy, this is a link to a good site about packing light. Keep in mind that the goal is to figure out how little you can bring, not how much you can squeeze into a small bag. My bag is a soft sided standard 45" carry-on size and I never fill it completely. All packed up it weighs 20 lbs or less.

https://www.onebag.com/

Posted by
2909 posts

Nancy, this packing thread was running last week. Maybe it will help you.
https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/packing/packing-light-challenge-562a0e48-86e5-4103-90f1-e0f79635e872

If you read through you’ll see that some people think ultra minimal, 15ish pounds. You’ll also see that Wray and I like our creature comforts, 22 pound carryon plus 8ish pound tote. The key is to make packing light doable for you. There is no right or wrong way. Just be sure you can lift everything overhead on a plane or train and the suitcase meets the airline’s dimension limits. Deep discount airlines’ baggage limits are another conversation.”

Test pack, make notes, then a couple days later test pack again. You may change out a couple things, remove a couple things or add a couple thing. I keep a packing list on my phone and have a checklist on my computer. During the trip I made notes to myself, what I would change for the next trip. But during this 23 day trip the only time I changed the way I packed my suitcase was when I checked it to fly home; more things in the checked, expanded suitcase to fit souvenirs and gifts in my personal item and a packable backpack. You can always do what SIL did, ask the store to ship fragile things home.

PM me if you think my list will help you.

Posted by
23465 posts

Personally think the key, at least for us, to packing light is pack on paper. We start with a list and cross check it and cross check it.